Law firm network LawNet has launched a ‘Mark of Excellence’ in client service that’s designed to give member firms a competitive edge.
The Mark is set out in a client service charter and will provide a nationally-recognisable and robust measure of quality to clients. Practice performance will be measured through a suite of tools especially designed for LawNet firms, including compulsory online satisfaction surveys, training and mystery shopping. Compliance with the mark will be audited as part of the LawNet ISO 9001 standard.
All LawNet firms must, as a condition of membership, achieve and maintain the network’s bespoke ISO 9001 standard, which was updated last year to include the requirements of LEXCEL and outcomes-focused regulation. Now, the client care focus has been extended, to make it more immediately relevant to clients and help firms translate compliance into client service excellence.
The satisfaction surveys will be delivered through the Law League online portal, and will enable firms to benchmark themselves against fellow member firms and others nationwide.
The mystery shopping will involve eight samples each year, both telephone and walk-in, and is being delivered through the professional services division of Shopper Anonymous, who will also provide one to one feedback and in-practice training to support their findings.
Launching the Mark, chief executive John Thomas said: “Our firms are always focused on delivering excellence, but we recognise that in the new world it’s not enough simply to be an excellent legal adviser. How you look after clients is what makes a difference, and this Mark of Excellence will give firms the tools to focus on that internally.
“It’s not just lip service to client care, or badging something without substance, this is solid. It’s backed up by ISO 9001 and involves ongoing training, measurement and benchmarking. The audit systems are already in place and proven; this will be a simple add-on for firms that will drive real benefits.”
Firms with an established client service charter of their own, which is at least equivalent, can ask to have their own system accredited, but will be required to undertake the compulsory mystery shopping and online surveying.
LawNet board member Mark Hovell of Manchester’s George Davies added: “I think the Mark of Excellence gives LawNet firms a real opportunity to listen and learn from their clients and to steal a march on their competitors.”
At Lamb Brooks LLP, managing partner Ann Davies said: “This strategy for the future is just what we wanted to hear. I think the Mark of Excellence is a fantastic move, which is going to help all of the firms within LawNet to stand up to challenges facing the legal profession.”